Family-friendly events bring communities together

By Prem Calvin Prashad

This weekend, two family-friendly community events will engage Jackson Heights and Flushing with food, culture and crafts.

Hosted by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, “Flushing Night Out: Unwind” this Friday on the grounds of Flushing High School invites guests to unwind with live music and a “DIY” Village for arts and crafts. The event, which lasts from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. at 35-01 Union St. will consist of a picnic on school grounds and live music from “acoustic musicians Aesthetic Discernment, Heidi Seo, Jazmin and Tristan, and Nerd Herd.” There will be giveaways as well as food vendors selling coffee, snacks, fried ice cream and “exotic treats.” Admission to the crafts area is $1 and allows the participant to make unlimited crafts, including print making and personalized bracelets.

This is the third such event of this summer and a continuation of an events series that started last summer. This year’s Flushing Night Out events coincide with the 140th anniversary of Flushing High School and is an invitation to the community to become familiar with the campus. The chamber hopes to tie the success of the event to a call for more community space in Flushing.

“The strong turnout and enthusiastic response from our community indicates a huge need for more creative and social spaces in Flushing,” said John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. The chamber estimates that “Flushing Night Out” has drawn up to 5,000 visitors at the two previous events.

The next and final Flushing Night Out will be held Aug. 26, 2016 on the grounds of Flushing High School. The August 26th event, themed “Love,” will include “underground” artists and a pyrotechnics display from the event production crew House of Samu. For more information, visit https://flushingchamber.nyc/.

In Jackson Heights, the community-based organization Chhaya CDC is hosting its annual “Chatpati Mela” (festival) Saturday from 1 p.m. – 7pm. Chhaya CDC is a community development organization that helps the South Asian community in organizing, financial empowerment and home ownership. Queens’ South Asian community consists not only of people originating from India, but also Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh.

The sixth such iteration of this South Asian street festival and community event will take place on Play Street/78th Street, a pedestrian plaza adjacent to Travers Park, in Jackson Heights. The event highlights South Asian and Indo-Caribbean culture, including food, fashion, henna tattooing and cultural performances. The event, which regularly draws up to 2,000 attendees, will feature performances from Priyadarshini Roy and other community artists. The Queens Museum of Arts and the office of City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) are also supporters of the event. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1046758978747897/.

Chatpati Mela is a yearly event that takes place every summer.

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